Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stretching Every Dollar

It may be a bit off-topic for this blog, but I thought I'd add in my two cents on some ways to save $$$ as a toddler mom. So, my biggest suggestions for saving money... no for not WASTING money are:
  • consignment stores
  • online auctions

When we were preparing for the arrival of the Biscuit I started exploring consignment stores. There are SO many out there in every community and there are SO many good deals to be found there. Now, I'm not saying that everything you buy your child should be used, second-hand, previously-owned, however you want to package it, but I am suggesting that you consider it for things like play clothes (or clothes for daycare) and for things like books, DVDs, strollers, high chairs, etc. Just get yourself a nice high-pressured steam blaster if you're like me and paranoid about cleanliness and germs.

An example of a big way to save (at baby time): We opted not to get a brand new stroller when the Biscuit was born and, instead, picked up a 3-year old Graco stroller for $10. It's been great and now that the Biscuit is walking, he won't even get back in a stroller. I know it seems like a good idea at the time to spend $200 on a new stroller, but I would so much rather keep that $$ for his college fund.

Now, on to online shopping. My son has an unusually wide foot, extra wide to be exact. I can't walk into a Target, Wal-Mart, or Old Navy or even a Payless and walk out with new shoes for him. A fitted pair of shoes is going to run me about $25-30 a pop (ouch). Once I determined what the Biscuit's size is, I opted to start shopping around on online auctions, like eBay. So far, I've managed to do well shopping there. I even managed to get a pair of $40+ Stride Rite shoes (gently used) for $10, including shipping... not a bad deal!

Yes, some call me frugal, but I prefer to think of myself as practical. My son looks adorable and I always pick out nice things for him. So don't read this and think that he looks like a rag-a-muffin. For goodness sakes, he'll either ruin them during dinner of playing outside. It just makes sense (or should I say cents) to me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Me and My Shadow

The other day, I noticed that the Biscuit was behaving rather strangely. He was walking backwards away from a wall and then forwards in a repeated motion. Thoughts of "uh-oh, we've got a crazy one on our hands" did occur to me.

I realized, however, that the Biscuit had found his shadow. The husband and I were delighted! "He's your friend Biscuit!" we shouted to him. The Biscuit was amused with his new friend and desperately wanted to touch him so he kept moving toward the wall to try and get closer.

Ahhhh. A developmental milestone reached. A world of imagination begins. We can't wait to get him outside so we can have him jump and try and chase his new friend. Gotta make sure we have the video camera so we can record the moment and send it to the America's Funniest show.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Toddler Party Tricks

No, I'm not offering a list of things you can do at a 2-year old's party to entertain the kiddies, I'm talking about the horrible thing that some parents do: turn their toddlers into the entertainment. I'm quite guilty of this and the kharma wheel came back to bite me this weekend.

Being a fan of the University of Arkansas (Go hogs!), it was only natural that one of the skills that the Biscuit needed to learn was how to "call the Hogs." I decided to test it out on him last weekend. He picked it up like a champ. He's so smart.

Wooooooo PIG SOOOIE (click 2 see it on YouTube)! The Biscuit even had the hand motions down pat. When we went to visit his Starenka (his grandma; loosely Americanized it's pronounced stu zhenka) and grandpa, we showed off his new trick. He repeated it again at dinner for his daddy and his Auntie. It was one of my most proud moments! Until Sunday...

Sunday morning we, as usual, went to church. (and you all know where this is heading) During the pastor's sermon, when all was quiet, the Biscuit (perched up in his Starenka's arms) began to call the Hogs in the midst of God and everyone.

Well, we hushed him fairly quickly and we giggled a bit. Guess that'll teach me not to use my child as a trained monkey. (but it was really funny)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pick Your Battles

Last night at dinner I gave the Biscuit some broccoli on his tray for the 4th or 5th time. I assumed that he would refuse to eat it as he usually does. To my surprise, he picked it up and named it "bwokuhlee" and put it in his mouth for a moment. He then very promptly threw it on the floor.

Usually I give him the business for throwing food, I do pick my battles with him and while I typically will correct him verbally for throwing food on the floor, I don't discipline him much for it. I am hoping that the food throwing is a phase and that he will begin to mimic our table manners soon.

He continued the broccoli dance throughout the meal: in the mouth for a moment and then hurdled onto the floor. Each time he put the broccoli in his mouth, my husband and I looked at each other, smiled, and tried not to breathe (thinking we might break the spell that was causing our toddler to actually eat "some" broccoli). Finally, my brilliant husband realized what the Biscuit was doing.

"He doesn't like the tops of the broccoli, only the bottom" my husband says to me. Aha! And he was right. He was putting it in his mouth, eating the bottom part and then throwing the icky tops away. I, too, used to be a broccoli stalk-eater as a child so I can understand the preference.

Today I served broccoli topless. The Biscuit loved it.